The Mystery of Knowledge

The Mystery of Knowledge

This is the last in the series of four linked keywords in the Course which are: Perception, Facts, Revelation & Knowledge. Just as the first three differ from orthodox use so it is with knowledge.

In regular usage knowledge is merely an accumulation of facts that are associated with perception. For instance, scientists have perceived that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth and once this fact is in your memory it is said to be knowledge.

That is a million miles away from knowledge as it is presented in ACIM.

First of all we are told that “Perception did not exist until the separation introduced degrees, aspects and intervals” T-3.IV.1

On the other hand, knowledge existed before the separation and will always exist because “Knowledge is timeless.” T-3.III.1 “Knowledge preceded both perception and time, and will ultimately replace them.” T-3.III.6

Knowledge and perception are so different that they are said to be on different levels: “Knowledge is not the remedy for false perception since, being another level, they can never meet.” C-4.3

Indeed, the Course acknowledges that the standard view of knowledge is not knowledge as taught in ACIM: “When you say you are acting on the basis of knowledge, you are really confusing knowledge with perception.” T-3.III.5

The ultimate attainment of knowledge is of extreme importance for “The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever.” T-8.VI.9

That said, the question that must now be asked is: What is knowledge according to ACIM?

The problem is that the Course does not give a concise definition of the word. Fortunately though, it does tell us a few things about it so the observant student can formulate some understanding on it.

Perhaps the most insightful quote telling us the difference between knowledge as defined by the Course compared to the world is this:

“Abstract thought applies to knowledge because knowledge is completely impersonal, and examples are irrelevant to its understanding. Perception, however, is always specific, and therefore quite concrete.” T-4.II.1

This tells us that indeed knowledge is on a different level than used in this world.  In this world we see knowledge as storing things that are perceived in our memory, but true knowledge has nothing to do with that, but is associated with “Abstract thought.”

Indeed, the Course tells us that in our true home, where knowledge is found, is beyond time, space, form and perception. It therefore does take us into the abstract, or that which is not associated with any form.

It is interesting that knowledge is closely linked with our very existence: “you are an idea” T-15.VI.4 and “God knows His children with perfect certainty. He created them by knowing them. T-3.III.7 “your being is the knowledge of God.” T-7.VI.10

“You are an aspect of knowledge, being in the Mind of God, Who knows you. All knowledge must be yours, for in you is all knowledge.” T-13.VIII.2

Think on the idea that “You are an aspect of knowledge.”

The whole idea of the Course is to awaken to who we are so this statement indeed gives us food for thought.

Here are some other quotes giving some additional insights on knowledge:

“To know is to be certain. Uncertainty means that you do not know. Knowledge is power because it is certain, and certainty is strength… knowing is the affirmation of truth and beyond all perceptions.” T-3.III.1

“Understanding is light, and light leads to knowledge.” T-5.III.7

“Knowledge is always ready to flow everywhere, but it cannot oppose.” T-5.I.4

“Knowledge is His Will. If you are opposing His Will, how can you have knowledge?” T-8.I.1

“Knowledge is shared with God. When you awake in Him you will know your magnitude by accepting His limitlessness as yours.” T-9.VI.4.

“Knowledge is power, and all power is of God.” T-14.XI.

“Knowledge is therefore of the mind, and its conditions are in the mind with it.” T-15.VI.7

In the eternal world learning is “replaced forever by the knowledge of love and its one meaning.” T-18.IX.12

“Freedom is a part of knowledge.” W-pI.198.2

If true knowledge does not exist in this world of perception, then is it even possible for us to gain any understanding of it?

The answer is yes – kind of.

“Yet time has still one gift to give, in which true knowledge is reflected in a way so accurate its image shares its unseen holiness; its likeness shines with its immortal love.” W-pI.158.11

There we have it. Even though pure knowledge is abstract and beyond form, time and space it can be reflected here so we can gain at least a partial understanding. Then we are told that reason plays a part:

“Knowledge is far beyond attainment of any kind. But reason can serve to open doors you closed against it.” T-21.V.9

It makes sense that reason is a key since “Knowledge is therefore of the mind.” T-15.VI.7

To attain knowledge the ego must be transcended for it doesn’t comprehend knowledge:

“The ego cannot afford to know anything.  Knowledge is total, and the ego does not believe in totality.” T-7.VI.4

“if only knowledge has being and the ego has no knowledge, then the ego has no being.” T-8.VIII.7

We are told that perception is partial, but “Knowledge is total.” And “partial knowledge is impossible.” T-3.V.8 At the separation we shattered “knowledge into meaningless bits of disunited perceptions,” T-18.I.5

What does it mean then that knowledge is total?

To realize the answer, we must examine the difference between knowledge and perception as taught in the Course. When we perceive we only see a very small part of what is there. For instance, the widest perception available to us are the stars in the night sky.  On a clear night there may be a couple thousand that are visible. But by using powerful telescopes we have discovered that there are trillions of stars beyond that limited perception.

Consider our perception while residing on this planet earth. You may be by a beautiful lake enjoying your perception of the scenery, but what you see is only a very small part of the planet.

If the principle behind knowledge was applied to us then you would be aware of the entire earth all at once, and when looking at the stars you would be aware of all of them, even the ones our telescopes could not see.

But in the eternal world knowledge is applied to the true reality, and there we are aware of all that has been created. No perception is necessary because “Knowledge is total” and all things are before us all at once in the eternal present.

Some of that is reflected down to us in this world and we can get a glimpse of it and receive much inspiration, but “the last step in the reawakening of knowledge is taken by God.” T-7.I.6

“When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made. And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself.” T-11.VIII.15

When this happens, we will then enjoy a fulness of knowledge.

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